Aga Khan to open Zanzibar Serena Inn

By: Aplinari Tairo

A fifth unit in the Serena hotels chain will be opened in Zanzibar this Saturday by His Highness The Aga Khan who is expected to arrived in Dar es Salaam at the weekend, according to confirmed sources.

The 39m dollar of investment follows the opening of three other tourist lodges in the northern tourist circuit and a luxury tented camp.

The 52 room Inn is located in the heart of Zanzibar's historic Stone Town. Two historical buildings were renovated for the purpose, through the Aga Khan Fund for Culture.

Mr. Salim Janmohammed, an executive from the group, said in an interview recently that the soft opening of the Zanzibar Serena Inn was performed early this month.

A 6.5m dollars investment by The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) sponsored the renovation and acquisition of the historical building, he said.

Three lodges, namely the Lake Manyara Serena Lodge (67 rooms) the Ngorongoro Lodge (75 rooms), the Serengeti Serena Lodge (66 rooms) and the Kirawira Tented Camp (25 tents) have altogether cost about 32.5m dollars.

The chain's local investments were launched mid last year by President Benjamin Mkapa in the presence of the Aga Khan.

Serena Lodges would assist the country revamp its tourism sector and help strengthen the economy, the President had remarked.

The group operates two luxury hotels in Nairobi and Mombasa alongside three tourist lodges in Amboseli, Samburu and Maasai-Mara Game Reserve, all in Kenya.

The Tanzania facilities were co-financed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) and the National Provident Fund (NPF).

Serena tourist lodges have added 400 jobs in the sector plus 109,000 guests-nights annually. Total sales are projected at up to 23.3m dollars in the next two years, according to Prince Amyn Aga Khan, Chairman of Tourism Promotion Services (TPS) an affiliate of AKFED.

With 285 guest rooms in its Tanzania facilities, the Serena chain manages more than 900 tourist rooms in its East Africa operations, he said.

Liberalisation of the tourism sector was launched in 1986. Several world class investors in accommodation and services took stakes in the country's flagging tourism sector.

The more notable ones include Tanzania Hotels Investment (TAHI) wich manages five lodges, a a hotel in the northern tourist circuit and Mafia Island Lodge.

SOPA Lodges follow with three luxury lodges in Tarangire, Ngorongoro and Serengeti wildlife parks, and tented luxury camp.

Sheraton Dar es Salaam Hotel is the biggest single tourism sector investment, firmly putting Tanzania's hotel industry on the world tourism map.

Source: Financial Times
Tanzania, Wednesday March 12-18 1997

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